Two 'hard-not-to-admire' persons
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2010-07-18

There are times when we cannot help but feel positive reactions over the way some people handle their respective issues in life. They are the people who make us say to ourselves that “We cannot help but admire this person” and they restore our faith that in the end good will triumph over evil, that no matter what — justice will prevail.

Among those who made your Chair Wrecker feel that positive recently — two easy to admire persons — are President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) and Dr. Wilfrido “Menito” Villacorta. They represent two sides of the spectrum — the well known and the little known, the high profile and the low profile.

We cannot help but admire P-Noy for his sincerity, tenacity, good instincts and good taste. We are witness these days to P-Noy’s determination to lead by example. Despite the justifications for the presidential motorcade to use sirens during road travel – the provisions of the law, the urgent demands of presidential time and the requirements of presidential security – P-Noy is willing to suffer the negative comments for being occasionally late owing to having been delayed by heavy traffic.

A road vehicle is one of the most preferred sites for assassinations. The assassination which triggered World War I was done on an Austrian Archduke while he and his wife were in a road vehicle. Whether mobile or static, a person inside a road vehicle is very easy to murder. You are confined to a small space, forced to be seated in the case of a sedan and with very little room to run or hide from your assailant.

Indeed, a president stuck in traffic is a security nightmare. It is not as if P-Noy is unaware of the security risk that he is taking for not being able to speed through road traffic. Few, in fact, could claim to have personally experienced a close encounter with the ultimate risk — the loss of life owing to a violent threat. In the 1987 failed bloody coup attempt against the Cory Aquino administration, a young Noynoy Aquino was almost killed inside the vehicle that he was riding and to this day he carries the memento of the bullet that almost ended his life.
P-Noy takes the security risks because he understands too well the need to set the example and encourage his people to also go out of their comfort zones and contribute positively to the rebuilding of our country. It is only with leader and people acting in unison can we reverse our downward trajectory and set ourselves towards the direction of progress. P-Noy knows that he will need the People Power that won the May 10 presidential elections for him — more so now if we are to accomplish something positive for our country — if we’re to improve the lives of our people.

During last Wednesday’s meeting with the PAGASA (the Philippine weather bureau) right after the passage of Typhoon Basyang, P-Noy registered his displeasure over the wrong weather forecast which caught many folks in Metro Manila unaware of the impending severity of the winds and its resultant damage.

P-Noy firmly admonished the heads of the weather bureau but he did it without making them lose their dignity. It would have been a good occasion to make a big gesture of zero tolerance for bureaucratic mistakes in front of a national audience but P-Noy opted to be considerate even if he was firmly registering his displeasure. That’s what presidential class and humanity are all about.

Menito Villacorta is a former member of the Constitutional Commission that crafted the 1987 Constitution, a former Vice President of the De La Salle University and a former Deputy Secretary-General of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), among others. He is an old friend of your Chair Wrecker who worked the international desk of the 1986 Cory Media Bureau.

My wife Mey and I were having dinner with Menito at the Sky Lounge of the Vivere Hotel in Alabang last Wednesday when he received a phone call from a cabinet secretary who asked if Menito was interested to serve as an undersecretary in his department. Menito was surprised and felt honored by the call because he neither knew the cabinet secretary nor aspired for the job being offered. However, he had to decline the offer for the simple reason that the department was not in the realm of his expertise.

How many people do you know will politely refuse a position like that?

Have you seen how many people are moving heaven and earth these days just to land a presidential appointment — even if they hardly qualify for the public office that they’re seeking? How many of these job seekers are really interested in public service and are not just lobbying to satisfy the needs of their bloated egos?

Some of them even sell visions of agency reorganizations just to create organizational boxes in the proposed setup where they can park their bloated egos. In management, organization follows function. You create a position of a sales promotions manager if you are really going to conduct a sales promotion operation. You create the positions for four Vice Presidents if your corporate needs really require the services of four Vice Presidents.

To do otherwise is to create a dysfunctional organization. If the accommodation of bloated egos becomes the order of the day instead of filling positions according to real organizational needs and the qualifications of the aspirants for the positions – then that becomes the foundation of future serious problems.

The greatness of the P-Noy presidential saga will be determined by reformed values and enlightened minds. One of the brightest illuminations for our benighted nation is leadership by example. Thank God for these “hard-not-to-admire” persons.

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